KANSAS CITY, Mo. – In order to make an incoming move and strengthen the roster ahead of a playoff push, the New England Revolution had to figure out a way to create a bit of room under the salary budget.
The Revs created the required room earlier this week when they reached an agreement with Kalifa Cisse to mutually part ways, and they made quick use of their newfound flexibility by adding veteran forward Charlie Davies on Friday morning.
“Without talking too much cap, we were right up against it,” said head coach Jay Heaps, who called reaching an agreement with Cisse “vital” to being able to sign Davies. “We had to give a little bit to be able to get [Cisse] to a place where he would go, and obviously with Charlie coming in, we didn’t know if we’d be able to get it done or not. We still thought one move allowed the other to happen, but it was the right move on both sides.”
Davies joins the Revolution on loan – with a purchase option – from Danish club Randers FC, although he’s best known to American fans for his electric performances for the U.S. National Team in 2009 and a successful stint with D.C. United in 2011, when he scored 11 goals in 26 appearances for New England’s rival.
The Revolution heads into this weekend’s meeting with Sporting Kansas City three points back of the Eastern Conference’s fifth and final playoff spot, and with 12 games left in the regular season, the club will be hoping Davies adds an injection of energy during the stretch run.
“First and foremost, he has an extra gear,” said Heaps. “He definitely knows how to get in behind defenses. He has a good sense of what he can and can’t do. I think with the different formations we’ve played this year, we want to have a little bit more pace and a little bit more speed in certain areas, and I think he brings that.”
Davies was one of American soccer’s brightest young stars in 2009 after following up a standout performance at the FIFA Confederations Cup with a memorable goal against Mexico in a World Cup Qualifier. But his career – and life – was thrown into jeopardy in October 2009 when he was a passenger in a deadly car crash which left him with several serious injuries.
It’s been a long road back for Davies, who found success during his stint in D.C. but hasn’t appeared with the U.S. National Team since the accident. Since returning to action in 2010, the 27-year-old striker has spent time with French club Sochaux, D.C. United and Randers, but hasn’t settled anywhere for more than a season.
But now Davies has the chance to come home. A native of Manchester, N.H., he was a standout at Boston College from 2004-06 and is familiar with many of the Revolution’s players. Heaps is hoping a comfortable environment in New England will be just what Davies needs to get back to the top of his game.
“I know him well. I know he’s been humbled by the experience and he’s someone that right now, quite frankly, he wants to get to a place where he can have that balance,” said Heaps. “He has his family here, he’s familiar with what we’re trying to do and he wants to get back on the field and score goals. That’s what he’s best at.”